Sassafras Hardwood


Sassafras is a versatile and attractive timber, with a pale brown heartwood that darkens to a dull orange-brown on exposure, and a light yellow sapwood that gradually blends into the heartwood. It is typically straight-grained, with a coarse texture and a medium gloss, and has an interesting grain pattern that is occasionally compared with ash or chestnut. It is a great choice for furniture, joinery, doors and much more. The common name for this wood species is Sassafras, and it is also known by its botanical name Sassafras officinale and S. albidum (Lauraceae). If available from sustainable and legal sources, Sassafras is an excellent choice for a range of timber applications.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Cinnamon Wood, Black Ash, Red Sassafras, Golden Elm, Aguetree, Saxifrax Tree

Durability Notes:
Sassafras wood is moderately durable

The drying and seasoning of Sassafras is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Sassafras - seasons without difficulty, but can be subject to slight checking. There is small movement in use. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Sassafras is considered medium for all strength and hardness ratings. Sassafras works well with both hand and machine tools and can be planed to a good clean surface. Pre-drilling is advised for nailing but it screws, glues and finishes well.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Carving, Turning, Boat Building.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Sassafras Wood

Is Sassafras a hardwood or a softwood? Sassafras is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Sassafras hardwood or softwood? - Sassafras is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Sassafras family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Sassafras? Sassafras can be described as brown, yellow/brown

Is Sassafras good for outdoor use? or is Sassafras good for exterior use? Sassafras is most suited for interior/interior use. Sassafras can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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